Access to Care in Cancer

Access to Care in Cancer: Barriers and Challenges

High-quality cancer care depends on the ability to secure, travel to and pay for needed diagnostics, treatments, and support services. In 2016, the Cancer Support Community gathered information on individual experiences accessing care in order to understand barriers to care and better advocate for and support patient needs. One thousand two hundred and eighteen people with cancer answered the call to share their experiences with access to insurance, services and providers, and the direct and indirect costs of care. Lost in the ongoing debate surrounding health care is how Americans with cancer benefit from, and experience challenges with, a new and evolving health care system. This includes the impact on people covered through the Health Insurance Marketplaces, the unintended consequences of reform on those covered by Medicare, the short- and long-term effects of novel delivery of care models, and the impact of subsequent changes to employer-based plans.

Some Key Findings of the 2016 Report

infographic - 22% of respondents reported skipping recommended treatments to manage out of pocket expenses

This report builds on previous work of the Cancer Support Community to assess gaps in access, shifts in sites of care, changes to coverage, and the impact of these factors on out-of-pocket costs. The intent of this initiative is to better understand the challenges people face when accessing care and examine them within the context of the goals and targets of health care reform. The current report addresses the following topics:

Access to and Understanding of Health Insurance

Access to Services

Treatment Decision Making

Cost of Care

Cost Containment Strategies and the Impact on Access to Care

Through this report, the Cancer Policy Institute aimed to highlight patient issues, concerns, and barriers to obtaining cancer care and to communicate these findings to the broader cancer community, including health care providers, advocates, and policymakers, so that we can work together to advance the promise of patient-centered cancer care in America. Download and read the full Access to Care in Cancer 2016: Barriers and Challenges Report below.